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Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

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Jean Lucey, CPCU

Faculty, IIAA Virtual University

  • CPCU, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter

Jean Lucey has researched and written about insurance matters for well over 30 years. A current member of The Zebra's Insurance Expert Review Bo…

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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How much is car insurance for 21-year-olds?

On average, a car insurance policy for a 21-year-old driver will cost about $2,891 per year — over $1,000 more than the national average. Although a 21-year-old is no longer a teen driver, they’re still considered a risky client to an insurance company. Historical data shows younger drivers are more likely to get into car accidents and receive citations — all of which puts an insurance company at more financial risk and thus they’ll charge more in premium.

Still, there are ways to save as a 21-year-old driver — such as by gathering quotes from multiple carriers. Let’s break down some cheap car insurance providers and other ways to save.

Cheap car insurance for 21-year-olds

We discovered that USAA is the cheapest car insurance company for 21-year-old drivers — priced at just over $2,000 a year. USAA also won top points for customer service according to The Zebra Customer Satisfaction Survey. However, it should be noted that USAA is only available to members of the military community, so most drivers will unfortunately not be eligible. 

Company Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
USAA $2,013 $168
GEICO $2,315 $193
Nationwide $2,399 $200
Farmers $2,778 $232
State Farm $2,847 $237
Progressive $3,162 $264
Allstate $3,946 $329

If you’re not in the military or related to someone who is, GEICO is the second cheapest for 21-year-old drivers. Bear in mind that this data should only be considered as a jumping-off point. Your insurance costs can be lower if you’re still on your parent’s policy or if you bundle it with renters insurance.

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Why do 21-year-olds pay so much for car insurance?

Although 21-year-olds are paying more than the national average, there’s a considerable drop in car insurance premiums from 20-year-olds. On average, 21-year-olds pay over $700 less than 20-year-olds per year.

Age Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
20 $3,602 $300
21 $2,891 $241
22 $2,654 $221
23 $2,478 $207
24 $2,340 $195
25 $2,033 $169

Find auto insurance for 21-year-olds today!

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Your gender and your premium

Until you get to be 25 or so, gender is still a considerable rating factor for car insurance, especially for young drivers. At age 21, men pay almost $300 more per year than women in car insurance costs. Auto insurance companies see young male drivers as statistically riskier than young female drivers and charge accordingly to account for the higher risk. As you age, women actually pay about 1% more for car insurance than men.

Currently, HawaiiMassachusetts, MichiganMontana, North Carolina and California are the only states which do not consider gender as a rating factor. Furthermore, as of January 1st, 2019, California, Washington DC, and Oregon now require non-binary gender options.

Gender Avg. Annual Premium $ Difference
Female $2,596 $0
Male $2,891 $295

How does your education impact your insurance?

While the difference is quite small, car insurance companies see drivers with more education as less likely to get into accidents or file claims. On average, drivers who have a PhD pay a few dollars less per month than drivers without higher education.

Currently, California, Massachusetts, Georgia and Hawaii do not use your education level in calculating your car insurance quote.

Education Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
None $1,791 $149
High School $1,782 $148
Bachelors $1,760 $147
Masters $1,757 $146
PHD $1,757 $146

How does your credit score affect your premium?

Having poor credit, which tends to happen with lots of student loans, will cause your car insurance rate to increase. Data from the Federal Trade Commission shows that drivers with poor levels of credit are not only more likely to file a claim, but their claims tend to be more expensive in value than drivers with higher credit. To an insurance company, this data signals the need for higher premiums in order to protect themselves.

Currently, California, Hawaii and Massachusetts do not use your credit score to determine your premium. Learn more about car insurance with good credit and bad credit.

Credit Tier Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
Poor $3,147 $262
Fair $2,071 $173
Good $1,760 $147
Very Good $1,627 $136
Excellent $1,506 $125

What about your location?

Because insurance is state-regulated, any time you move your insurance premium is almost guaranteed to change. Certain ZIP codes will be rated higher for what an insurance company might see as an additional risk for living there.

Annual Premiums in the Most Expensive States for 21-Year-Olds
State Avg. Annual Premium
Louisiana $4,679
Florida $4,491
Kentucky $4,201
Rhode Island $4,052
Washington, D.C. $3,748

And your car?

Although turning 21 does allow you to be considered a more "mature" driver, you’re still considered risky. So, if you insure a vehicle with a high MSRP (i.e., more expensive to replace if you total it) or a vehicle that is capable of high performance or off-road driving, you can expect your premium to be high. If you’re looking to save money, you should consider picking a pre-owned moderate sedan or van.

Sedan Hybrid Luxury Car SUV Truck Van
$2,116 $2,016 $1,953 $1,802 $1,621 $1,657

How to save money on car insurance as a 21-year-old

After covering the rating factors and explaining why it is expensive to have car insurance as a 21-year-old, let’s address the best ways to save money without having to cut back on your insurance coverage.


Keep a clean driving record

So now that you can legally drink, you should be exceedingly wary of getting a DUI or DWI. On average, a DUI will raise your car insurance rate by more than $1,000 per year — which doesn’t even begin to cover the myriad of other penalties you will have to pay for. Furthermore, your insurance company will continue to charge you with higher rates for any violations for a total of three years — sometimes longer. In California, you can be charged for up to 10 years for a DUI. It's worth mentioning that if you do end up getting charged, there are insurance companies that specifically cater to drivers with DUIs.

Accident/Violation Avg. Annual Premium Premium Increase
None $1,759 $0
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit $2,151 $392
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit $2,190 $431
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit $2,282 $522
At-fault accident - greater than $2000 $2,605 $845
Reckless driving $3,187 $1,428
Racing $3,291 $1,532
DUI $3,441 $1,681

Good student discount

If you’re in college, as many 21-year-olds are, you should consider the good student discount. The age requirements can vary, but most insurance companies still offer this discount to students in your age group. Insurers consider students with above a 3.0 GPA — or "B" average — as more responsible and generally safer drivers. As such, your insurance rewards your good grades with a lower premium. They will usually require proof of your grades every policy period. Combined with a defensive driver discount, you can save an average of $189!


Defensive driver discount

The logic for this is pretty straightforward. If you’ve taken a professional driving course to become better at defensive driving, you’re more likely to be a safe driver — which is good news for your insurance company. Usually, you can take courses provided by your local DMV but consult your insurance company beforehand to make sure they will honor the discount.

Age Male Female
19 $278 $160
20 $238 $139
21 $202 $117
Bundle multiple policies

Your renters insurance covers your property and liability in the event something is damaged or you’re found responsible for certain types of damages. Some apartments and landlords actually require you to have renters insurance, which is a good idea anyway — it's useful and very affordable at around $150 per year. So make sure to bundle both your auto and renters policies from the same insurer in order to get a multi-policy discount.

Homeowner Status Avg. Annual Premium Annual $ Savings
Renter $1,760 $0
Renter With Multi-Policy $1,677 -$82

Summary: car insurance for 21-year-olds

Turning 21 years old is notorious for usually one thing and it’s not something usually encouraged by your insurance company. Still, turning 21 has other advantages besides being able to order a beer. You can expect around $700 in average annual savings as you begin to appear less risky to your insurance company as a young adult. But make sure you keep a clean driving record, have good driving habits and especially avoid drinking and driving if you want to keep this lower premium. In addition to this, make sure you shop around for car insurance every six months in order to find the best possible rate.

Whenever you age, move, or — in general — change anything above your driving profile as discussed above, make sure you check to see if you’re getting the best rate. 

Compare quotes from top carriers today!

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.